In 1993, Wilford Bailey, Wayne Flynt, Eulene Hawkins, and Earl Potts came together to form the Alabama Poverty Project. They joined with others across the South to study poverty, publicize their findings, teach undergraduates what they had learned, and mobilize public policy to bring about systems change.
Today, APP continues that work through education, collaboration, and advocacy. In celebration of its founding and recognition of the continuing challenges fighting poverty, APP hosted a 20th anniversary dinner on Tuesday, August 27, 2013, at Woodrow Hall in Birmingham’s Woodlawn neighborhood.
The organization honored its founders by presenting the first Alabama Possible Awards to J. Mason Davis, one of Alabama’s longest-serving African American lawyers, and Judge Scott Vowell, who recently retired as the presiding judge of the Jefferson County Circuit Court. Former Birmingham News Court Reporter Eric Velasco led Mason and Scott in a frank conversation about access to justice and what each one of us can do to build a more just Alabama.
Both Scott and Mason talked about their experiences growing up in a segregated South. In a year celebrating the victories of the Civil Rights Movement, Scott commented, “it is also important to recognize how far we have to go.”
As an example, Mason lamented on the cycle of poverty. “Poverty has caused a great number of (young people) to drop out of school . . . if they are hungry, they can’t go to school and learn. So you get a kid from a poor family who can’t go to school, who can’t learn, so he drops out,” said Mason.
During the evening, APP officially unveiled its new name: Alabama Possible. The change comes after the board decided that Alabama Possible better reflects the organization’s work and deeply-held value that we have the power to reduce, and one day end, poverty in Alabama.
Thanks to the generosity of our sponsors and donors, Alabama Possible raised nearly $30,000 to support our work. Many thanks to Co-Chairs Samuetta Nesbitt and Freddy Rubio, Keystone Sponsors Campus Dining, Inc., Royal Cup Coffee, and Scott & Cameron Vowell.